Simon Perchik
  You sleep on one side though it’s the bed
  reaching out for a pillow
  where a heart should be – what you hear

  is darkness being made
  the way everything in this room is leaving
  as corners thrown to their death

  – no, there’s no smoke, just the steady
  night after night returning alone
  as if it once was a fire

  had a name that was lost
  – its ashes each evening
  calling to her from the half that’s hers.

  And though this cup is shabby
  you still tinker with the rim
  – some daylight is needed :polish

  could restore the slow turn
  that’s sacred, fill it the way dirt
  softens the Earth with your fingertips

  – needs the smell from an embrace
  that once was wood, lets you grieve
  by leaning over as if this bottom

  stopped circling for broken teeth
  for the handle that’s missing
  a place in your mouth.

  Single file the way every stone
  promises its last dance to the dead
  who listen for beginners :small stones

  a mourner leaves – in the dark
  your grave more than the usual
  smelling from an old love note

  whose words you have forgotten
  died all at the same time
  as moonlight :a silence

  you could hold in your hand
  – you think it’s the rain that stopped
  though you are entitled to a tree

  left here by its shade setting out
  to fill itself with you, become a night
  where there was none before.

  You are no longer the smoke, reach out
  the way ashes know all about sunlight
  and falling back – not any more the evening

  for hours growing fat on air and water
  and stone that weighs too much
  – you are the afternoon coming from behind

  with both eyes closed – it’s the darkness
  that’s in the way between your arms
  and the last kiss to bring them closer

  on fire – push! face to face against the Earth
  not used to a hillside that’s not final
  is lowering itself for your shadow and later.

  This stone was never in love
  though you are now its Spring
  – where there was no one before

  you bring it rain, grass
  and one by one an afternoon
  no longer the hammer blows

  it returned from – you send it
  pieces, edges, embraced
  in the dirt that lasts forever

  wants to become a sea again
  and this stone spreading out
  with you in its arms, naked

  then whole – was never so new
  soft and against your forehead
  here the flowers will close.
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, including free e-books and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” please visit his website at